03 June 2017

Weekend Cooking: 100% Real by Sam Talbot

Review: 100% Real by Sam TalbotDare I admit that I don't watch Top Chef? I'm not even sure what channel it's on. Can I even be in the same room with true foodies?

If you're not like me, then Chef Sam Talbot probably needs no introduction. But just in case, he's a Top Chef star who was born and raised in the South and has a restaurant in Brooklyn. He has had type 1 diabetes since his childhood, and he has made it part of his mission to use wholesome, unprocessed foods to make delicious meals that will satisfy and nourish everyone, even those who must watch what they eat.

Along those lines, every recipe in his new cookbook 100% Real (thanks to Oxmoor House for the review copy) is labeled with an icon for vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, and dairy free. Tabot's own personal diet is hard to pin down by label, but consists of, well, 100% real food -- mostly plant based, but he doesn't shun animal protiens and sweets. The key for Talbot is to eliminate, or at least cut way down on, the whites (white flour, white sugar, white rice, etc.) and focus on whole, fresh foods with a variety of flavors and textures.

100% Real by Sam TalbotTalbot's 100% Real starts with his personal story; his "5 steps to keeping it real"; and his guides for overhauling your pantry, fridge, and equipment. Then he gets to the good stuff: the recipes.

From breakfast to evening snacks and beyond, 100% Real has you covered with delicious recipes like savory breakfast porridge, fruit and vegetable combo salads (Don't you just love strawberries with your greens? I do.), avocado sandwiches (see the cover photo), shrimp and grains, flatbread open-faced delights, Asian-flavored pork, different ways to cook with zucchini noodles, grilled veggies, and fruit-forward desserts.

Tucked in between the recipes, each with a full-page photo of the finished dish, are informative and interesting features, such as a note on how to interpret the "sustainably raised" claim, tips on how to jump on the juicing bandwagon, and everything you need to know about sweeteners. Whether you're an old hand at healthful eating, just getting started, or somewhere in the middle, you're bound to learn something new.

100% Real by Sam TalbotHere are some of the recipes I tagged as must-tries:

  • Roasted Tomato-and-Red Pepper Romesco
  • White Beans and Smoked Paprika Chicken with Black Rice
  • White Fish Curry
  • Spiced Sweet Potatoes on Country Toast with Banans Peppers and Cilantro
  • Cappuccino Cashew Ice Cream (vegan, gluten-free, and dairy-free!)
 Talbot's recipes are well written, with directions that don't leave you in the lurch. Some of the ingredients may be unfamiliar to you, but they are, in fact, not difficult to find in most areas of the country. You may need to hit up a health food store or Trader Joe's for a grain like farro or a few of the spices, but even mainstream grocery store chains have coconut oil, fresh lemongrass, and baby bok choy. If you're truly stumped, check out the resources page in 100% Real for online shopping and more information.

I can't tell you how much I love Talbot's 100% Real. The book contains recipes for every kind of cook and eater who is making an effort to dine well -- in every sense -- in this processed-food world. We can all benefit from eating real foods as often as possible, and Sam Talbot can help us meet our health and nutrition goals. Vegans and vegetarians, people with diabetes and celiac, and all of us who want to live long and in health will turn to 100% Real often. This is a cookbook to buy.

We've made the following recipe twice already. It's yummy and very easy to throw together.

Chile-Rubbed Skirt Steak with Rustic Chimichurri
Hands-on: 20 minutes Total: 20 minutes Serves 4  
Steak with chimichurri is a classic combo. The bright, fresh herb topping contrasts beautifully with the smoky, spicy steak.
  • 100% Real by Sam Talbot2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon lime zest, plus 1 tablespoon fresh juice (from 1 lime)
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup torn fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/4 cup torn fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons torn fresh mint
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallots
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ancho chile powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chile flakes
  • 1 pound skirt steak
1. Preheat grill to medium-high (about 450°F). Whisk together the sherry vinegar, zest, juice, and 1/4 cup of the oil in a small bowl. Stir in the parsley, cilantro, mint, shallots, and 1/4 teaspoon each of the salt and pepper.

2. Combine the ancho chile powder, red chile flakes, and remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a small bowl. Rub the steak with the remaining 2 tablespoons oil; sprinkle both sides of the steak with the spice mixture. Grill, uncovered, to desired degree of doneness, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Let stand 10 minutes; cut diagonally across the grain into thin slices. Serve with the chimichurri.
Weekend Cooking hosted by www.BethFishReads.comWeekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book reviews (novel, nonfiction), cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs, restaurant reviews, travel information, or fun food facts. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog's home page.


Mae Travels 6/3/17, 6:35 AM  

Your review still leaves me wondering how this new cookbook is different from so many others (and so many websites). You say that you received a free copy, so I understand why you decided to review it. You mention the "jucing bandwagon" which puts it in the faddish category too.

Like you, I have never watched Top Chef, so that doesn't help me either.

best... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

Tina 6/3/17, 7:19 AM  

I've never seen the show but then, I rely on getting DVDs and series from our library. I like browsing through cookbooks though and I think that chimichurri rub would be great in a variety of meats.

rhapsodyinbooks 6/3/17, 7:22 AM  

I'm with you on 3/5 of your "must tries"!

bermudaonion 6/3/17, 8:30 AM  

I don't watch Top Chef either but I think Carl does. I've been focusing on eating better since last fall so this looks really good to me!

jama 6/3/17, 8:41 AM  

Add me to the list of people who don't watch Top Chef. Too many shows, too little time. :) Fun to hear about this book in any case. I think that skirt steak is calling to me. . .

Jackie McGuinness 6/3/17, 8:59 AM  

Definitely going to check this book out! I don't like using processed foods either. Cheaper and better to make things from scratch.

nishitak 6/3/17, 10:37 AM  

I don't watch Top Chef either. This does sound like a good and easy resource for cooking foods from scratch.

Katherine P 6/3/17, 10:39 AM  

I watch Top Chef (it's on Bravo) and enjoy it. Everything I've seen of Sam paints him as a good guy who really believes in the way he eats. I'm not surprised that you enjoyed his cookbook! Now I need to get my hands on a copy!

Vicki 6/3/17, 12:11 PM  

I've only watched Top Chef a few times and I'm not familiar with this author. I would probably like his book though.

Deb in Hawaii 6/3/17, 12:14 PM  

Great review! Although I don't watch Top Chef much anymore, I used to watch it often and Sam was/is a favorite. I am happy to hear you liked his new cookbook and I will be looking for it. Real foods aren't a fad and having well put together collections of them by a chef who knows his stuff and is a good guy to boot, is always welcome. Like Talbot, my eating is defies labels so I like that there are plenty of non-meat recipes included too.

(Diane) bookchickdi 6/3/17, 8:47 PM  

Wow, this is a rave review. Now I'm kicking myself for not picking this up at BEA.

Carole 6/3/17, 9:38 PM  

I'm going to check this one out. Thanks!

Claudia 6/4/17, 1:55 AM  

I haven't watched Top Chef, and don't really need another cookbook. However,that said, I do look up new ones in the library, and if really good, actually have been known to buy it.

La La in the Library 6/4/17, 4:42 AM  

Our cable television service went sky high a couple of years ago and I got rid of everything but our internet. I had intended on getting Hulu or Netflix, but frankly, now that I don't have tv I don't know when I found the time to watch it before, ha ha, so I am in the "have no clue" zone with Top Chef, too.

I never thought about calling white flour, sugar, and rice "the whites". I also try not to eat them. This cookbook sounds right up my alley. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on it. I am going to put it on Goodreads, and my Amazon Wishlist. I will probably check it out from the librar, too. :)

Melynda@Scratch Made Food! 6/4/17, 9:22 PM  

I will look for this book, thanks.

Heidenkind 6/6/17, 12:11 AM  

I do watch Top Chef, but I rarely remember the Chefs' names so I have no idea who,this guy is. Lol

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